Sinbad The Sailor Essay, Research Paper
Sinbad, the Non-Classical Hero
The stories on Sinbad the Voyager from the Arabian nights, are fantastic tales of voyages of a merchant named Sinbad. The stories are told as Sinbad tells them to a humble porter named Hindbad, who after complaining about his lack of financial fortune outside of Sindbad?s luxurious home is invited into Sindbad’s home. Sinbad offers Hindbad dinner and a hundred sequins, a substantial amount, to listen to his stories. Throughout the stories of Sinbad the Voyager in the Arabian Nights the main character Sinbad lacks the classic properties of a hero and is only respected because of his exotic stories and his wealth.
Sinbad throughout his stories fails to prove himself worthy and respected for any virtues that make up a hero. He lacks such fundamental virtues like courage strength and mental superiority. His only distinguishing traits are that of luck and perseverance and his love of travel. However although Sinbad may be an appealing and charismatic character it?s the stories that are appealing and not his behavior. The fantastic creatures and lands that Sinbad speaks of are the main attraction of the stories and Sinbad is merely a merchant traveler who lives to tell their tale. Although he is the one who manages to escape with his life when confronted with the perils however its luck that liberates him from the hazardous situations.
Sinbad fails to show any courage in any of his seven voyages. His apparent acts of bravery are brought forth by his will to live, and are not influenced by any noble cause. He musters up enough courage to burn out the single eye of the giant on an island, but only in the desperation of having watched his companions eaten by the giant. Even in that situation they poke out the eye of the monster without any courageous encounter, in fact they poke out the eye of the monster when he is asleep and then they run for their lives. In Sindbad?s encounter with the roc, or the gigantic two-headed bird, he ties himself to the bird?s giant leg in order to escape from his giant nest. This act is also an act of desperation, once not other alternatives are available Sinbad turns to his only available option leaving his life in the hands of fait. Even such more modern characters who bear great resemblance to Sinbad such as Robinson Crusoe, shows more courage than Sinbad. Robinson Crusoe is also a sailor and a voyager who becomes stranded on a remote island after his shipwrecks. Robinson Crusoe faces cannibals that frequent his island in order to save other savages from being eaten. Sinbad never attempts to save anyone but himself.
Sinbad shows neither leadership skills nor traits of an individual, he is no different then the men traveling with him. He refers to his fellow travelers as comrades and does not see himself as being more important in any way. His crucial role, and his most prominent trait is that of his story telling skills. Most classical heroes posses a skill that is more refined than the average man, whether it is skill to battle or a superior intellect, often they are aware of this skill and are able to distinguish themselves. For example Ulysses, was also a sailor and a voyager, however his heroism came from his ability to lead men, and to use his intellect to escape seemingly unforgiving situations. His voyages were also as exotic as Sinbad?s, however even his people regarded him as the hero.
Sinbad, believes that he deserves the luxurious life he leads because he endured so many hardships, however the hardships were brought upon him by his own will. He was never placed in a situation where he was forced to endure such hardships, but put himself in these high risk situations through his own love for traveling and sailing. His riches were not earned through hard work, but luck of escaping situations, which he placed himself in. Most classical heroes are rewarded, or offered a reward for their actions or commit their acts of bravery because of a noble cause. Mullan, fought to protect her sickly father from being drafted into the army, which was a noble cause. Hercules was rewarded for his superhuman acts of courage by being immortalized in the stars.
Sinbad after successfully escaping out of his exotic hardships is rescued by another ship and returned to Baghdad. He always has great riches with him that he finds, usually on the ground, during his adventure. Sinbad uses this money to pay for his passage to safety. However most of this money goes to himself and for his luxurious lifestyle. This is the normal behavior for a normal man, however lacks to fit the image of a classical hero. Sinbad is generous his incredible size of his fortune allows for this trait.
Throughout all of Sinbad?s voyages, it can clearly be seen that although Sinbad?s stories are filled with hardships and disasters, he is in no way a classic hero. Sinbad?s heroism comes from his perseverance and his will to live, even when faced with the most desperate situations. He is also renown for his stories, but in no way could story telling be considered a classic hero trait. Sinbad is a merely and interesting person to sit down to dinner with and listen to his stories, and not a glorious hero.